City of York Council clampdown on illegal grazing
A council has employed a horse bailiff to tackle illegal grazing on its land.
City of York Council has said up to 100 horses are thought to have been left on its property without permission.
The new bailiff will have power to remove animals if the owner does not come forward. The horses could be put down if they are not claimed.
Steve Waddington, from City of York Council council, said there had been an increase in illegal grazing in recent years.
He said: "Where they are tethered on the road side we have had incidents where that tethering has come loose and those horses have caused road traffic collisions."
'Too many animals'
A council spokeswoman added: "The scale of the problem varies but it is estimated that there could be some 100 horses illegally grazing on council land."
The horse bailiff, who took up the position earlier this year, will begin making site visits in February.
City of York Council has committed £40,000 to tackling the problem over the coming 12 months.
Mr Waddington said that any horses found illegally grazing would be impounded for 14 days while efforts to locate the owner or rehome the animal are made.
He said: "Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that a number of those horses will be humanely destroyed."
Lee Hackett from the British Horse Society said: "There are so many animals out there that there aren't enough places for them to go.
"We would far rather see a horse humanely destroyed with dignity than left and allowed to suffer."